Archive for the 'Journalism' Category


Social Media and September 11th: Small Memorials, Big Impact

Social media has allowed us to remember September 11th through not just major memorials, but small ones, that have just as much impact. Platforms ranging from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram provide an outlet for memorials for those tragic events that touched all of our lives and indelibly changed our nation.nypd

Last year, New York Police Department was able to honor the different officers whose lives were lost during the attacks on the World Trade Center.  The Twitter account posted the names of the officers, as well as their end of tour date; 9-11-01.  These updates served as a reminder of the many public service workers who gave their lives to help citizens of New York that fateful day.

Twitter and Facebook have provided other unique venues for the public to share their emotions and stories in this continuously busy world.  Last year, Twitter was trending with stories of where each user was when they found out about the attacks.  Different age groups were able to illustrate the spectrum of emotions felt when the news of the attacks first broke.  Younger users told how they were in kindergarten class during the attacks, and had no idea what exactly had happened.  While the older population was able to see the news in their office or on their way to work.

September11In addition to a platform for stories, the Internet has become a place for remembrance in lieu of expensive and time-consuming memorial services.  Life unfortunately does not stop on difficult anniversaries, but that does not mean Americans cannot share their thoughts and prayers for each other.  A simple status update or tweet provides a short moment of silence, when the day doesn’t allow for a memorial service.  According to social media experts, these brief mentions have also helped to increase awareness of the importance of any day, which might have been forgotten years later.

Whether it is a moment of reflection, prayer, patriotism, or remembrance, social media has forever changed how Americans will commemorate September 11th, and all that was lost on that day.

How else have you seen others using social media to commemorate 9/11?  Tell us in the comments, and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  Be sure to visit our website and learn more about our agency and all that we offer in social media.


Is Social Media our Industrial Revolution?

Yesterday, I was watching a report about the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  I was surprised to learn that the spill was larger than the Exxon Valdez disaster. I was even more surprised to see how many reporters and analysts were ready to offer opinions on how to clean up the spill, how the U.S. government should be involved and the restitution BP should pay to the American people.  There was instant reaction by bloggers, Twitter and through other types of social media.

I was struck by how social media journalism has become mainstream.  I wasn’t watching objective journalism reporting the events of the day; I was on a roller-coaster of emotion.

The media industry used to be shaped by journalists. Today, enthusiasts, analysts and zealots masquerading as experts join them. Social discussion, opinion and advocacy journalists are filtering the news I see today.  This is a transformative time as we are able to participate in the news and information being disseminated. We are no longer only consumers of information.

Social media has evolved to influence the information we obtain. It is increasingly becoming the preferred method for the acquisition and spread of knowledge among common people.  Is social media our generations’ version of the Industrial Revolution?

In business terms, it is redefining how marketers respond to the marketplace.  It is increasingly important for businesses to have a social media strategy.  Without it, companies are missing important customers, stakeholders and influential opinion makers.  There are conversations taking place about your industry, your company and your market. You need to participate in those conversations to ensure the most accurate information is being disseminated. You need to listen to those conversations to understand consumer perception.

Most importantly, if you are active in social media, your influence in those conversations increases.  This has additional business value:

  • Improved search engine rankings (SEO)
  • More traffic to your company website
  • Ability to quickly respond to crisis situations

Participate in the conversation, by posting a reply to this blog. If you need to improve your social media prominence, contact us at Weise Communications. Check out Weise Communications on Facebook and “Like” it for future updates.


does your franchise have what it takes to be published in Franchise Times?

Getting published

What franchisor wouldn’t like to have their story published in a trade magazine like Franchise Times? Seemingly everyone would like to have their story published but few stories are ever chosen for publication. How can you set your franchise apart and make your story more appealing to an editor?

Franchise Marketing’s Sean Kelley interviewed the managing editor of the Franchise Times, Nancy Weingartner, in March. The interview was primarily focused on answering the question: How can franchisors improve their chances of getting their story published in trade magazines like the Franchise Times?

Three useful tips from the interview:

•    Editors are attracted to companies that are engaged in innovative activities.

•    Ease up. Avoid being pushy in your attempts to create a relationship.

•    When you have a story idea, send a short e-mail with attached background information.

Below I have included one question and answer from the interview. I found Nancy’s response to be very helpful. I hope you enjoy it as well.

“SK:  What’s the best way for a franchise company to “pitch” their story to Franchise Times?  What format and method should they use to submit their information (Email?  Fax?  Mail?)  Should they follow up?  How often?  What can they do to increase their chances of success?

NW:  The best way is to send a short e-mail message with a file attached with background information. Tell us why you’re different or how you’ve solved a problem others could learn from. While a follow-up phone call is good—it puts a real person behind the e-mail—be careful not to bug too much. Sometimes the lead time on stories is immediate, other times it may take a couple of months for an editor to decide to follow up on something. Always be polite and respectful of the editors’ time and acknowledge that you know he or she receives a lot of requests. One thing to definitely not do is to get snippy with editors or demanding. Remember people like doing business with people they like, and that goes for editors, too—we like writing stories about people we like. So be yourself.  Don’t try to force a relationship.  I’ve had people call me every month with an update on their pitch, and, in many cases, I got around to doing the story because they captured my imagination.”

To read the full interview, click here.


Are “news cafés” the solution to the newspaper crisis?

1114925_lazy_morning_coffeeNext month PPF Group will open several coffee shops adjacent to local newsrooms in the Czech Republic in an attempt to make newspapers more accessible to readers and advertisers, reported The New York Times last week.

“As they sip their drinks, visitors will also be able to surf the Web, get help in building social networking profiles or even chat with reporters working right next door putting together their local newspaper,” explains Eric Pfanner of The Times. “The newsrooms-cum-cafes are part of a new venture in so-called hyperlocal journalism, which aims to reconnect newspapers with readers and advertisers by focusing on neighborhood concerns at a neighborhood level…”

PPF’s media strategist says that “there is no option to close the door” between the cafes and the newsrooms. He believes this will give the readers the feeling “that you can touch your editors and tell them what you want.”

So the question on your mind, I’m sure, is, “Is this going to work?” According to PPF, it is and the company is even expanding.

To begin, PPF is planning to publish seven weekly newspapers and 30 Web sites. If the newspapers are a success, they plan to add several more throughout the Czech Republic and possibly even in other Central and Eastern European countries.

This plan doesn’t seem to be foolproof – they may pick up more readers, but will the advertisers jump on board as well? However, it is an interesting concept. I’ve always thought that local papers may be the ones that survive in the end, and the idea of making them hyperlocal just ads to their appeal.

My other question is – and this is a bit off topic and comes from the publicist side of my brain – how will these “news cafes” affect PR in their areas? If I were a PR person working in the Czech Republic, I’d be drinking my morning coffee with the local editors on a weekly basis!


Rocky lives on?

picture-15In the event you haven’t seen or heard, several former Rocky Mountain News reporters and cartoonists are continuing to post stories on I Want My Rocky. Well-known names like Sam Adams, Kevin Flynn and Mary Voelz Chandler are still sharing sports, arts and entertainment, and general news with us on a daily basis.

I’m not sure how long they can keep this up, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

What do you think about this continuation of the Rocky? Share your thoughts here.


Ten things you can do since you no longer work at the rocky mountain news


The Rocky Mountain News published its last paper today. What a profoundly sad day in Denver. Over the years, we have worked with many reporters and photographers from the News. They were easy going, professional and responsive. We will truly miss working with them.

But in every cloud there is a silver lining. And, personally, I am a person who often needs to be reminded of this when I get down. I appreciate my loved ones taking the time to point out the good things in life when I am brooding about the bad.

So I felt like we should pay it forward today and help our friends from the Rocky see their silver linings. If nothing else, we hope this brings you a smile.

Best of luck to you all. May you find fulfilling and wonderful jobs as you move forward.

Ten Things You Can Do Since You No Longer Work at the Rocky Mountain News.

1.    Have a cold beer. At noon.
2.    Let a PR person buy you the beer.
3.    Ski all week.
4.    Sign a petition – any petition.
5.    Enjoy that your in-box is no longer cluttered with 1,312 bad pitch emails daily.
6.    Take some time to recover from carpal tunnel syndrome
7.    Write a book about the great stories you never covered, but always wanted to.
8.    Read the Post (in public).
9.    Date a (former) co-worker (in public).
10.  Date a PR person.

Check out the Rocky Mountain News‘ fairwell video here.


Rocky Mountain News Closes Tomorrow

News out of Denver: The Rocky Mountain News, the 150-year-old newspaper, is closing its doors tomorrow. Clearly a sign of the economy, changes in advertising and the ongoing changes in PR.

Read the news from the paper itself.


Twitter – Bridging a Gap

twitter_logo_sI ran across a blog posting the other day titled “Will Twitter be the platform that unites journalists and PR pros?” authored by Heidi Sullivan.

I’ll let you read the post and develop your own conclusion. But I think, for now at least, that Twitter can certainly help bridge that gap between the two parties. It does, as Heidi points out, help weed out those folks who give PR a bad name by mass emailing a story idea to journalists and hoping for a hit (the ‘spray and pray’ method!). It forces PR people to research (or follow) journalists before pitching them, which should lead to more relevant pitches.

The comments on the post are interesting, too. One reader brought up #JournChat, a weekly online discussion via Twitter where journalists, bloggers and PR people come together to discuss the media and PR industries. I haven’t participated in #JournChat yet, but I’m reading the meeting recaps and they’re quite enlightening.

So, what do you think? Is Twitter bridging the gap between journalists and PR folks? Do you use a different platform that you think does a better job? Tell us about it.


From the president

Tracy Weise, President of Weise Communications, sent me this message after today’s blog:

“Are you serious? Everything going on in the world and GMA caters to this? Any reputable reporter would have done more research on Pivens’ claims and determined the basis of them before putting him on camera. And if at that time GMA still found this to be a credible story, they should have had a physician on to discuss mercury poison, including the risks and concerns associated with it so that the audience could have received credible information from a credible source.

I understand and appreciate that actors can lend their “star power” to get increased awareness for diseases and issues that affect them personally but, when that happens, qualified individuals need to provide information on the issue (doctors, lawyers, scientists). For GMA to air mercury safety issues (potentially false ones at that) based on the information from an actor who may or may not be trying to use this to win a law suit, is terrible reporting.”

Well said.


Good Morning America, How Dare You!

Dear GMA,

Really? I can’t believe you would pander to Jeremy Piven and this ridiculous PR cover up on your January 15 show. Thanks to you and your wingman—Diane Sawyer—you may have very well usurped the War on Terror with the War on Fish. You know there are at least a million viewers who saw your broadcast and have rejected fish from their lives forever. What did fish ever do to you, GMA, other than give you protein and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids?

Thankfully, the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) knows the truth, and they have given it to us via the next great viral video. Eat your hearts out GMA. Because the truth is, it doesn’t take a PR expert to see what a disaster this is. Not only do I now have no respect for Jeremy Piven, but you have lost credibility, GMA.

I expect to see a pro-fish story in the next week. And this time, see if you can get someone who is an actual doctor, or at least who plays one on TV (see vid).

Check out the full story at the LA Times.

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